Believe it or not, this is a thing, and I never realized it until I went through the storm of losing Taylor. People have been wonderful to Parker and me. Everyone has been so sympathetic toward our situation, and we have been overcome with gratefulness to have such a strong support system.
I won't lie though, there are stages of grief where certain sympathetic comments are hard to swallow. The one that's been tough for me? "I know how hard this is for you". When someone says this, I cringe a little bit inside. There is a part of me that wants to unleash and tell them, no, they have no idea how hard this is because they aren't experiencing it. They didn't lose a child at 18 weeks 5 days on November 23, 2014. They. have. no. idea. It's so easy to give into this anger and resent people who make that comment. Yes, they mean well, but it's tough to give them the satisfaction of thinking they actually know how hard this is.
The thing is, when we go through really tough situations, we tend to think we get a free pass. To an extent, we do. Learning how to live life again was not an overnight thing, at least for me. I've done it all. I've skipped out on social situations because I didn't want to see anyone. I cried in a closet so I didn't make a scene over Christmas. I've bitten my lip so hard to keep from crying that it goes numb in pain. I'm getting better every day, but it's not an overnight thing. I'm usually not this emotional, but after losing Taylor, I get a free pass to cry. I don't, however, get a free pass to snap at people or lash out at them.
What I've had to realize is that everyone has been through something hard in their lives. Whether it be a health issue or losing a loved one, everyone has endured pain. I don't know what they've gone through because only they truly know what they've gone through. Even when people talk about losing a child, I am very careful to never say "I know how hard it is". Each person handles grief differently, and I can't pretend to know how they are feeling.
I don't think I will ever enjoy hearing someone tell me they know how hard this is, but I have an obligation as a Christian to respond to their sympathy with grace. Just a little nod of thanks will go a long way, and if someone is taking the time to talk with me about my journey, it means they care. There are stages of grief where you want to be angry, and those are the times where you have to make a conscious effort to choose grace. This is a lesson I never expected to need to learn, but it's one I'm glad I did. We are called to show grace, even through the tough stuff.